Saturday, April 30, 2011

Outbreak! Zombie Apocalypse

This time I'll be writing about some what different kind of a game. Outbreak! Zombie Apocalypse is a free real world location based game for Android. The idea of the game is that there are two sides, survivors and zombies, who battle against each other. When you register and log in the first time you will become either a survivor or a zombie. After that I bet you might guess what happens, but still let me tell you a little more.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Update on PSN

Just my luck. Yesterday I posted how i got scared about the rumors behind the closed PSN. Just after I published that post I looked at the latest news and found this. I'll summarize what was announced.

Sony admits that user accounts were hacked and personal information stolen. This information includes:
  • "name, address (city, state/province, zip or postal code), country, email address, birthdate, PlayStation Network/Qriocity passwords and login, and handle/PSN online ID."
 Also possibly stolen:
  • "profile data, including purchase history and billing address (city, state, zip), and your PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers."
And last but not least:
  • "If you have provided your credit card data through PlayStation Network or Qriocity, to be on the safe side we are advising you that your credit card number (excluding security code) and expiration date may also have been obtained."
You f*cking hackers!

I really don't mind so much if someone knows my birthday and now that my password isn't the same anymore on most sites I'm not so worry about that either, but what I don't like is if my credit card number is out there for someone else to use. Although security code should be safe this still gives me the chills. Well at least for now my credit account looks normal.

This was just a small update to my yesterdays post. It just was so odd coincidence that at the same time when I'm writing how I got scared about the possible account breaches, because of the past experience, Sony announces that the user information has indeed been stolen. Just my luck.

My face when I read the news.

PSN down, will Sony prevail?

As some of you may already know Sony's Playstation Network has been down since last Wednesday. Sony announced on it's blog that "An external intrusion on our system has affected our PlayStation Network and Qriocity services." There have been all kind of rumours around this news. First and maybe the biggest rumour being that it was the work of the almighty Anonymous, but I think that by now they can be left out. They have also stated that they didn't do it. Some other minor rumours claim that Admin Dev accounts were breached and that a custom firmware which allows the use of fake credit card info was released. The real reason might be some combination or it might be something totally else.

Monday, April 25, 2011

God of War 3

God of War 3 is an action-adventure game where you control Kratos, a Spartan warrior who seeks vengeance upon Olympian gods. The game is very violent and brutal which is shown very clearly during every boss fight. The game has many of these boss fights so the violence has a big role in the game, but what can you expect from a true Spartan warrior whose only reason to live is revenge.

I never played God of War on PS2 so when the God of War Collection was published I just had to have it. It was nice to finally be able to play one of the biggest PS2 games (or two of them actually). The actual games didn't impress me so much, good hack'n'slash with puzzles and quick time events, but I liked the theme. Greek mythology is interesting so it was nice to see those familiar faces and kick their asses! The ending of God of War 2 left me thirsty for more so lets find out what the third chapter has to offer.

"My vengeance...ends now."- Kratos

Friday, April 22, 2011

The way of the future

When I started this blog I was thinking to write only about the games I would currently be playing, but as usual things didn't go as planned. I could write only about the games, but I don't like the idea of updating my blog only once or twice a week. So as you have seen I have already made few posts about something else than just the game I'm playing and that is the way of the future for this blog.

So then what is this other stuff I'm going to write about? The only certain thing what my future posts will have in common is that they will somehow be game related. So basically you can expect almost anything. I will still write about every game I play though. I don't know if they are reviews or just some random thoughts, but in any case something. I don't believe I'll be posting any general news as they can be found pretty much everywhere and I would like to write as much my own opinions and stuff as possible. If the news are super interesting or have something that concerns me someway then I'll talk about them.

This new posting policy helps me to make the blog more versatile and will add some variation for my posts. I'm also open for suggestions about what I should talk about, so if you have something on your mind tell me about it in the comments. I would also like to thank everyone who voted at my poll. God of War 3 won so it's time to kick Zeus's ass.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Games + girls = ?

One of the biggest mysteries of our time is, of course, the combination of games and girls. Do they mix? Well here's my two cents.

At least they seem to mix really well.

I think the public opinion is that games are for (teenage) boys. At least it used to be like that. Of course it's easy to think so when you look at the games today. When you see a game or advertisement with a women with huge tits and very little clothes on, it gives us a pretty good hint to whom the games are made/advertised to. Well not all games are like that, but big part of them is. And why is that? Because sex sells. There's no denying that. I can't walk on the street without seeing ads with good looking women on them. But it works. My head turns nicely when I walk past them. I like women, can't help it.

I wouldn't mind playing with her.

So it seems like games are for boys, but don't believe everything you see. Today's generation has grown up with games surrounding them, so they see more easily what's the deal with games. And this includes girls. I understand if my mom says that games are for little boys. Only thing she knows about games is a tv commercial about Gran Turismo. Well that and solitaire she plays occasionally. That was my mom and she's is 60, then lets move to my girlfriend who is 19. She used to play games just like me when she was little. Mario and Tekken were great she says. She also played WoW few years back. Well today she doesn't play that much anymore, but that doesn't mean she wouldn't like games. I bought all the available Crash Bandicoots from PSN and she played them all through. She also tried Flow (game where you control the character by moving and turning the controller and not by pushing any buttons) but didn't like it. "Only suckers play games like this. I want my good old pad with buttons" she said. Words of a true gamer. :p

That's only one person I know, but if we look at the game industry as a whole we can easily see how the girls are taken into account more and more. They even have a word for it, social gaming. Ever heard of it? Popcap Games ordered a survey about social gaming and guess what, the majority of those gamers are women (55% - 45%). If you look only Facebook the gap grows even bigger (69% - 31%). So the girls in fact do like to play games. They just play them on Facebook, at least for now. One interesting point from Popcap's survey (this includes boys too, but girls being the majority of those gamers it still gives us some direction):

  • When asked to choose as many reasons as they wanted for playing social games from a lengthy list, social gamers cited "fun and excitement" as the most popular motivation (53%). Stress relief (45%) and "competitive spirit" (43%) were next most popular respectively, followed by "mental workout" (32%) and "connect with others" (24%).

Those most popular reasons look familiar. At least for me they are the reasons I play games (although some games cause more stress than relieve it). "Competitive spirit" is also one big reason for all online gamers, whether they play CoD or FIFA or whatever.

Maybe this is why girls don't play with consoles...

So the reasons to play are pretty much the same but games differ. I believe this is because it's so easy for girls to play Farmville or whatever on Facebook. I'm pretty sure they would like "real" games just as much if they only had the chance to try. These "real" games have so many different genres that there surely is something for everyone. For example games like Little Big Planet, Sims, ModNation Racers and Viva Pinata are great if you want to show someone that there are also other games than the GTAs and CoDs. And I'm not stating here that those two are bad, just that they are so well known already. Also Guitar Heros and Singstars etc are easy to approach.

So, games and girls, do they mix? I'd say yes. Girls like to play but they just play the games that are available to them and most of those games happen to be on Facebook or somewhere else on the internet. If we want to get them on the couch to play with us we need more social games for consoles or the current games and consoles with different kind of marketing strategy.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Dead Rising 2/2

Most of the zombies are dead and Chuck has escaped, but was it worth it? The answer is yes and no.

The answer is no because of the time limits. Like I said before they are super annoying. I'm now playing the game second time and I still hate those time limits. I'm not even sure if I'm able to play it to the end now. I'm going to try though. I was hoping that there would be some kind of free roam mode after the first playthrough. That would have been nice. No time limits, just you, weapons and the zombie horde.

This screen comes too familiar.

Last time I also mentioned difficult enemies. There were some that felt difficult, but as Chuck gained some levels it became easier to beat those little bastards. But first you had to gain those levels and before that there were some missions that I had to skip because of the difficult foes. So again I repeat myself. Without time limits I would have had the chance to level Chuck up and after that go and try those missions.

So why was the game worth my time? Dead Rising 2 has it's moments. If you leave out time limits, killing those zombies is fun and entertaining. With so many different ways to smash a zombies head it doesn't get boring. After killing few thousands of those things I don't even find the killing repeating itself. Picture this: twenty zombies coming your way and you take a few swings at them with your fire axe and sledge-hammer combination. You hear few splashes and find yourself standing alone with a big pile of zombie guts on the ground. Man, that's satisfying!

Randy with his pink chainsaw. Got to have one of those myself!
The game also has twisted humour which at least I find funny. For example there were these two magicians who were practising a trick where a woman was cut in half with a huge saw blade. Well they failed every time, the woman died, but it didn't stop them of trying. The humour in general was about some sick people killing others. Some like it and some don't. Another example: maybe my favorite character, Randy, is a psychopath who wants to get married. And he just accidentally cuts his father in half with his chainsaw.

Because the point in this game is to survive and kill zombies it isn't a surprise that the plot is not worth mentioning. There are couple bad guys who get what they deserve. That's pretty much it.

Another great character. Slappy is sad because his girlfriend died. :(

Lets try to sum up my opinions about the game. The game is good if you know what to expect. Lots of zombies and many many ways to kill them. But if you are like me and want to complete all the missions you are in a constant hurry with very little time to really enjoy killing zombies.

P.S. There is still time to vote what game I'll play next. The poll's on the right. Vote!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Can't decide

I'm still playing Dead Rising 2 but I'm already thinking about the game I'm going to play next. I have two new games waiting but it's always so hard to decide, so I thought I could ask you guys. The nominees are:

  • God of War 3

  • Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom

I guess many of you know what God of War is about, but for those who don't know it's an action game loosely based on Greek mythology. You play Kratos as he tries to take vengeance on Zeus and other Olympian Gods killing huge amount of monsters on the way.

The second one can be more unfamiliar. It's an adventure game with some action and puzzles. You control a young man Tepeu who's accompanied by the great ancient beast Majin. This duo wanders around old and mystical kingdom and tries to defeat some evil monsters. I myself don't really know much else about the game.

When I'm done with Dead Rising 2 I'm going to choose the game which has more votes and play it next. The poll is on the right so choose your side and vote!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dead Rising 2

As I promised before I'm now playing Dead Rising 2. Dead Rising 2 is a third person action game where you play Chuck Greene as he tries to survive the zombie outbreak in Fortune City. Chuck has been framed to be a terrorist and he tries to find the persons responsible.

The game happens in "real time", meaning that the in-game clock runs all the time you play. The plot is divided to small episodes which all start at some exact time. Between these episodes there are lots of different side missions where you rescue or kill people around Fortune City. These side missions have time limits too. When they come available you only have certain amount of time to complete them. Third time based thing in the game is finding vaccine for Chuck's daughter. She has been bitten by a zombie and needs Zombrex every 24 hours (game time). So all these happen at certain time and the clock is running.

I really have mixed up feelings about the game. As I said before I don't like time limits in games and it's as I'd feared. The time limits are really annoying. I can't rest or "take it easy" at any point. There's always something where I have to hurry. Well the side missions aren't mandatory so I can admit that the hurry is partly my fault, but with my obsessions to try to do everything in the game it's really hard to let some missions just pass because I don't have the time. I just try to think that I'll complete them during the next playthrough. The game also feels pretty hard from time to time. Or maybe it's just me and my sucky skills but certain enemies in some missions feel really hard. They run faster than you, have much more health and do more damage. Some even heal themselves. I think it would just take the right tactic and right weapon to kill them, but with the hurry on my mind I just don't have the patience to try everything.

The game has zombies, lots of zombies.
Time limits cause panic in me, but so do the zombies. They are everywhere, and there's lots of them! Of course if the main thing in game is zombie riot there should be lots of them, but together with time limits they can be really huge pain in the ass. I'm always running from point A to point B and wouldn't have time to deal with millions of zombies, but there they are. I have to admit that this is maybe the right way to do a game like this, it's just me that is wrong in this combination. The only thing that I would change is the time limits. Without them I would so much enjoy crushing those zombie hordes.

So you didn't like my solo, bitch?!?

That leads us to the next big thing in the game, weapons. There's more ways in the game to kill those bastards than you can imagine. Almost anything can be used as a weapon, from a house plant to a huge war axe. And as if those weren't enough you can combine many of them with each other (after you have found the correct combo card). How'd you like a toy helicopter with a machete attached to it, or a paddle with a chainsaw? One of my favorites I've seen so far is a bucket with a power drill. You put that thing in zombies head and it drills the zombie to death. Oh wow! That's how I like my zombies, in bits and pieces.

It's splashing time!

Dead Rising 2 may not be my favorite game but I'm still going to finish it. The game has it's moments from time to time so it's not all bad. You'll have my final opinion when I have played the game through. That would be in few days I hope.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

History part 4

I don't actually know what made me change PC for consoles again. One reason that comes to my mind is the image of me lying comfy on my couch with pad in my hands looking at my huge television. Now I know that you can do that with computer also, but at that time my idea of PC gaming was me sitting in front of my monitor with crooked back.

So in late 2007 or early 2008 I decided to spent the money I had saved from my previous job and bought Xbox 360 and PS3 at the same time. I bought them both because couldn't decide between them. I think with Xbox I thought about games like Halo and Mass Effect and for PS3 there was "the brand" that interested me. Sony had had some great exclusives like GTA, Final Fantasy and Metal Gear Solid and I wanted to be sure I would have the change to play some of them (yeah, Sony had had some exclusives...).

Two brothers side by side.

As you can see I totally missed the whole PS2 era. I played happily with my computer and thought "lol those lamers don't know shit about games, they just play with their crappy resolution and pad that has like four buttons." Well times change I see. Still the whole PS2 phenomenon was one reason for my decision to buy PS3. Sony surely has made some good work with their marketing. It's my luck that game studios are making remastered versions of some old classics for PS3. Just waiting to get my hands on Ico and Shadow of the Colossus.

Xbox 360 and PS3 at the same house? Yeah it's a winner's choice. At first I was happy that I bought them both. Uncharted for PS3 and Mass Effect on Xbox. They both had good things, but then something happened. Somehow I just leaned towards playstation. I could say that it was the overall feeling about the system and software, but that would be strange because it was PS3 that broke down a month after I bought it, Xbox had better games at first and dualshock is crap compared to Microsoft's controller. And still I bought almost all cross-platform games for PS3 and quite soon stopped buying games for Xbox completely. After that I guess it's just fair to call me a fanboy.

I have six games for X0 worth mentioning (technically only 4 because of Halos 1&2), first three Halos, Mass Effect 1 and 2 and Lost Odyssey. Halos are overrated, I don't understand why people make so big deal about them. Really liked the atmosphere in Lost Odyssey. Stories Kaim starts to remember are nice to read and the milieu is great. But those child characters, oh man how I hated them. Indeed the game comes from Japan. Don't have to say much about Mass Effects, they are pure gold (1>2). I'll buy Mass Effect 2 for PS3 also when I see good enough offer.

For PS3 I have little over 30 games. It ain't much but they have kept my busy over the last few years. Don't want to write a list of them all but it's hard to name just a few, so I'll take a photo of them and you can see for yourselves. The best one? It's really hard to say, but maybe Batman: Arkham Asylum could be it. It depends on the day you ask though.

My babies.

Being a console person nowadays there is one thing I envy about PC gaming, Steam. It's easy and it's cheap if you just wait for the right offers. PSN and Xbox Live are ok, but they are missing the offers that would make me buy games there. I have bought few games from PSN (Megaman 10!) and I'm sure the number would be doubled with good offers. Good offer isn't a few years old game for 20 euros. With PSN+ I could get some games for "free" but they haven't interested me much yet.

I think that covers pretty much all of my game related history. I hope there has been something interesting enough to read about. Writing about this stuff has also made me think about the future of gaming, so I think I'll be writing about that too in the future.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

History part 3

Pentium 75MHz was getting old and fast. Couldn't really buy any new games for it anymore so needed something new. The answer was Sony Playstation. Actually if I remember correctly my parents bought it for my brother (the computer was in my room so it was his turn). Nevertheless we played with it both as much. It didn't have nearly as big effect on me as did the earlier platforms. The first time is always the first time.

Even the games didn't feel so good. I guess here the first time law applies too, I had already seen pretty much all the genres I was playing then. Some good games what I remember: Metal Gear Solid, Tekken 3, Gran Turismo, Tomb Raider and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. Then there were games like NHL and Need for Speed and others, but they didn't really rock my boat.

My favorite. Does he look cool or what?!

Although I played with PSone pretty much I needed something else. So after one summer I used all money I got from my summer job and bought a new computer. AMD Thunderbird 700MHz with 128MB ram and a cheap GeForce2 MX. It was good enough to play almost every game for a while, but it too started to get old pretty fast. Some years later it broke down and I had to buy a new one. AMD again, Athlon 64 3200+ with 1GB ram and ATI 9800 Pro (changed it later for GeForce 7600 GT). That is the computer I'm still using right now and it's also one reason why I don't play new PC games anymore. Not many PC exclusives I'd like to play though. Witcher, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and Starcraft 2 comes to mind. Well and the incoming Diablo 3 of course.

So what about the games I played? The biggest thing was of course Baldur's Gate 2, the best game I have ever played on PC. Right behind it are Fallouts 1 and 2. I also tried Icewind Dales but never finished them. Weird thing is I have never even tried Planescape: Torment. I know it's an excellent game, but somehow I have missed it. But someday... Other great game from that time is Deus Ex. It was new to me to be able to complete the missions with so many ways in a first-person game. It felt so cool back then. Really liked that one, but haven't ever tried the sequel. I will make up for that mistake when the third one is published.

One of the greatest ever.

Because I played Jagged Alliance back in the day I of course liked Jagged Alliance 2 and because of those I had to try Silent Storm. It's great but would be even greater without Panzerkleins. I just didn't like them. The game is still one of my favorites though. I also tried X-COM/UFO series for the first time. The first ones are old but they just keep on rocking. With games like these I always imagine myself playing hardcore and not using save/load trick, but mind is weak and it almost always goes to that. It's a shame.

During these years online gaming started to become more popular, but like I have told you before I'm not really into that. I didn't like it then and don't like it now. I remember playing Quake 2 and some other games with friends at school and that was cool, but playing on lan is different because you are with other people there and not by yourself. Half-Life is a great game but I have played Counter-Strike like two times. I have spent countless hours with Diablo 2, but don't remember if ever tried the multiplayer. Also have never tried WoW. Just not for me.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

History part 2

Nothing good lasts forever. While I still played with NES something new and different was coming. It was the day when dad bought our first computer and I was happy again. I think the year was 1995. It was so different from Nintendo and you could do some much with it. Like write stuff! We didn't have a modem, so internet came to our house some years later.

IBM Aptiva Pentium 75MHz. I was so proud .

My first PC game was Space Quest 6 - The Spinal Frontier. Reason for that game was the same as it was with all my NES games. The box looked cool (funny looking dude in space!). I had never heard of any Space Quest games before. The game was fun to play. I even got help from my mom with it! And it looked so much better than those crappy NES games. Of course years and years later those crappy games now look cool and retro. ;)

After that became games like Jagged Alliance (and Deadly Games), Steel Panthers, Carmageddon, Grand Theft Auto, Master of Orion 2 and Heroes of Might and Magic 2 just to name a few. Opening the drawer behind my back reveals some of those games in their original boxes. I would love to have those big cardboard boxes back. They were so much cooler than the DVD casings today.

Some of those games from my drawer.

I think games like Master of Orion and Heroes of Might and Magic were my favorite at the time. It was so nice to play those games with my brother at the same computer. Switching chairs and trying to guess what the other is up to. Nothing like good hotseat action. I still have played MoO several times after those years, although during my second PC era I started to like different games (about that later).

Mine Bombers. Some serious action.
These years also introduced me to small finnish shareware games. Anyone ever heard of Slicks, Molez or Mine Bombers? Especially the last one was maybe the most played game with me and my brother. We even bought the full version by sending some cash via regular mail. Some other great moments I remember during that time are the first time I saw my friend play Doom, "Wow! The barrels explode when you shoot at them!!" and the first time I saw 3D accelerated graphics. That was Quake 2 I think.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


I thought I could write about something else than the current game I'm playing for a change, so here's a little story how I ended up where I am now. We are talking about video games of course. I split the story in four parts and will publish the parts during the coming week.

Part 1:

The first time I got my hands on games was at the late 80's I think. My parents rented a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) from some local shop. After that there was no turning back. The renting time was 24 hours so I think me and my little brother didn't sleep at all that night. My folks didn't rent it very often, against our wishes, so it was always so cool when they did. Too bad I don't remember any games we played, but I could guess Super Mario was one.

You are now hearing the music in your head.

Couple years after that came the big day when we finally got our own NES. Oh man, I was probably the happiest kid in the whole world that day. I think the only game that came with the console was the one and only Super Mario Bros. During next few weeks/months there were "few" arguments about who can use the television (we only had one).

Because we lived in a really small town there wasn't any place to buy new games. So whenever we visited some bigger city we got a new game. The way to choose a new game was quite different at the time. I looked at different covers and chose the one which seemed most cool. And yes, we did got some sucky games with that method. But there were so many good ones it's useless to complain. Super Mario Bros. 3, Double Dragons, Blades of Steel, Contra, Excitebike, Mega Mans, Snake Rattle 'n' Roll and many more. So many good memories there. *sigh*

It's nice to remember what gaming was like then. Today games are made pretty easy for mass markets and you can usually save whenever you want. It was different back then. At least I notice it if playing with emulator. Save and load are in heavy use. One particular game comes to mind when talking about difficult games. Ever heard of Battletoads? Man that game was hard! I remember how me and my brother played it for hours and hours. It was hard yes but yet so fun to play. If the game is hard it still have to be fair, otherwise it will just suck. And the feeling when we defeated the final boss? Indescribable.

One of the easier ones.

I think the console and the games are still somewhere at my parents. Maybe I should take a ride at the retro train sometime. For the old time's sake.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Change of heart

I've been very interested on earthworms lately and been thinking about changing my blog to be about them.

Did you know that earthworms (Lumbricus terrestris) can grow up to be 30cm long? And that they are hermaphrodites, meaning they are both male and female at the same time? Talking about playing with yourself!

Earthworms can also regenerate to some extent, but that varies between species and depends on the extent of the damage. Studies of some G.E. Gates show that, in theory, it's possible to grow two different worms from one. Science fiction is here!

Earthworms are also very known as fishing baits. Many of you have surely dug up some and gone fishing with your friends. I know I surely have done it many many times. Behind my parent's house is their little garden and back there is a great place to dig up some worms. Especially after the rain.

But maybe the most biggest secret about earthworms, that most people don't even know, is this: April Fools! I so got you!